July 13, 2013

Need a custom piece of wood? Just ask the bat man

Casey O'Donnell's company is gaining traction as he focuses on baseball equipment.

By JOSH STILTS/The Berkshire Eagle

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

Casey O’Donnell uses a cow femur to harden and smooth one of the wooden bats being made in Pittsfield, Mass.

Josh Stilts/Berkshire Eagle

"I used a lot of big-name bats but they're not always a high-quality wood (like) they use," he said. "Casey is able to give me custom spec bats. He's able to cut them down to the exact length, weight, barrel size and handle size I like."

O'Donnell also specializes in "bone rubbing" -- using a cow's bone to give the bat a smoother finish and compressing the wood -- to each of the bats.

"It feels better coming off the barrel," he said. "If you don't square one up, it gives you a little more room for error to still make good contact and get a hit."

It takes O'Donnell about three days to make a bat from start to finish. He also staggers the process, turning out four or five bats in each cycle.

O'Donnell plans to keep the production of bats in his parents' basement for the next year or so while he saves up enough money to rent a workspace in Pittsfield, his hometown, and the city where his business will remain no matter how big it gets.

"This is the American Dream," O'Donnell said. "Players want to support something local and it's very important for me to do it here in Pittsfield."


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